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Delays cited as the number one reason for stressful journeys. 37% prefer to travel with mates or family to make journeys more enjoyable. 21% of Britons would not set foot in a car without a tablet.

It’s the second bank holiday of the month and millions of Brits are set to hit the roads to make the most of it. Whether it’s a mini-break or catching-up with relatives, either way, many will choose to travel on the roads. The aftermath of the credit crunch has spurred demand among Britons for staycations at home and many of us will be thinking about planning our getaways and bracing ourselves for a weekend on the roads.

Paul Tomlinson, Motoring Expert at Halfords said; “When it comes to basic checks and generally being prepared, our research has shown a quarter of Britons get their cars checked every 4 months or less and roughly 1 in 5 don’t understand any of the icons on their dashboard.

Although these types of checks are fairly simple, it is important that these are actually carried out more frequently as it really helps to avoid hassle on road trips, which becomes especially tricky when we’re expecting delays or jams.

Given the huge numbers on the roads it’s not surprising that drivers will come under a certain amount of stress. According to our research, road works and traffic jams are the most stressful part of car journeys (57%). Delays (37%) come in second, and finding the way (36%), a close third”.

However, there are a number of easy steps drivers can take to help avoid stressful situations and here’s how to make your car journey a smoother and breezier experience:

  • Set off at an unusual hour: Delays are cited as the number one reason for stressful journeys (63%). Timing is everything: Think carefully about the time you are travelling – leave earlier or later than planned to avoid the masses and for added peace of mind, listen to traffic reports before you head out
  • Plan your route: You might also think carefully about using your sat nav. According to Halfords’ research, over half of car owners use a Sat Nav in the car, and figures from the Department for Transport suggest that about half of drivers will be relying on a navigation device to plot their route, with many using traffic information data that can spot the queues ahead and divert drivers around them, so make sure you are making best use of your device. 58% of us say less congestion and 37% faster journey times would make journeys less stressful
  • Travel with peace of mind: Less than 1 in 5 of us currently use a dash cam, but for those who do, the majority feel safer when they drive knowing they have one. If a traffic accident occurs, dash cams can help you prove who's responsible and you can travel with full peace of mind knowing that you’re covered when it comes to any unexpected moments
  • Don’t be a stranger: 37% of us say that travelling with a companion would make car journeys more enjoyable.  Rather than sitting in silence, make the journey to your destination valuable time to catch up with family and friends - it’s the ideal time to chat, play games and relax together
  • Take the scenic route: 32% of us say car journeys are more memorable with scenic views. Take the time to plan your route so that you are passing through more picturesque places. Perhaps use the journey to stop off at and explore interesting locations you’ve never visited before
  • Keep entertained: 21% of us say they would not embark on a car trip without a tablet.  Make sure you have your favourite gadgets with you to keep you entertained – with hours of films and games downloaded, these are also ideal for keeping the kids happy
  • Don’t forget the upholstery cleaner: Summer wouldn’t feel complete without ice cream being thrown into the mix. However, most of us would probably prefer to avoid it becoming a part of the upholstery, so make sure you carry some fabric cleaner. Not forgetting the wet wipes needed for those sticky little fingers responsible for 99 flake implosions

With the increasing prospect of driverless cars becoming a reality, some of us even dream of the time when autonomous cars mean a convoy of vehicles automatically keeps to a set speed, calculated by a central computer, making jams a thing of the past. But where would be the fun in that? 

This summer, Halfords and Halfords Autocentres are offering free of charge summer car checks at over 700 sites across the UK with no appointment needed.

For more information visit www.halfords.com or www.halfordscompany.com